Australian child welfare reform grabs international attention
Tuesday 15 November 2022
Coming off the back of all Australian governments extending foster care (state care) to 21 – described by some as ‘the single most significant child welfare reform in a generation’ – the OECD has invited Home Stretch Chair Paul McDonald and Monash University Professor Philip Mendes to present on the subject to world-leading researchers and practitioners this evening.
National Home Stretch Chair Paul McDonald said the big winners from extending foster care (state care) to the age of 21 across the country are vulnerable young people who were previously cast adrift into adulthood at the age of when their care arrangements ended at 18.
“Anglicare Victoria staff saw firsthand the catastrophic outcomes of the young people we cared for when their care was ended by the state at 18. We knew the status quo wasn’t right and we knew something needed to change,” Mr McDonald said.
“Under the Home Stretch banner and with the help of experts such as Professor Mendes, efforts began in earnest to reach out to state and territory governments, commission research and make the case for change around the country.”
The Home Stretch campaign attracted the support of hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals around Australia, many of them child welfare experts and advocates. State by state the campaign was successful in changing the minds of sitting governments, and a week ago the NSW Government became the final state or territory government to get behind this important reform.
“We are honoured the OECD has invited us to present to a group of their international experts about a campaign that started small and went on to create change in every part of the country,” Mr McDonald said. This simple reform has been shown to reduce youth homelessness among this group, more than double their chances of finding a job, and reduce hospitalisations and involvement with the justice system.
“The Home Stretch campaign was successful due to the work of so many people in making the case for change, including committees in every state. Thank you to everyone who supported it along the way.”
Paul McDonald and Philip Mendes will present to the OECD in Paris via videolink at 7pm AEDT on Tuesday 15 November. Visit https://bit.ly/3Ehwqzp to register.
More information about extending care for young people can be found on the Home Stretch website. For further enquiries contact Mark Bretherton of Anglicare Victoria on 0439 806 072 or firstname.lastname@example.org